Monday, February 22, 2016

The Air Force of the Future: Lasers on Fighter Jets, Planes That Think

Fighter jets that shoot high-powered lasers. Robots that mine hours of intelligence data in milliseconds. A tactical aircraft that can think for itself.
These are just a few of the cutting-edge technology breakthroughs the Air Force hopes will change the game in the future battle space.
This year, the Air Force is reinvesting in science and technology, requesting $2.5 billion for S&T in its fiscal 2017 budget submission. The ask is a welcome change from FY16, when sequestration cuts forced the Air Force to reduce S&T funding, a cut reflected in the service’s deferral of critical capabilities like Global Hawk and B-2 bomber upgrades.
But as Russia and China race to catch up with US technological advances like stealth and precision weapons, the US can’t afford to fall behind, Air Force Chief Scientist Greg Zacharias stressed.
“I think we need to do a leapfrog and push the technology even farther, and not sit on our laurels,” Zacharias said. more